Anders strode right past our bus stop, towards the hulking mass of the Opera House, his long legs covering three times the ground I could with each stride. I had to scuttle to keep up.
“Not Daniel.” I kept silent, because I don’t know. Daniel and Tove seem like a great couple, a truly great couple, and Hanna seems like a great friend to them both. But how many times have we heard the refrain, “Hanna does stupid shit when she’s drunk”? We’d all like to think that we would never screw over friends in any circumstances, but in moments of drunkenness, of selfishness, we all do stupid shit. More importantly, why would she have confessed to Ida if it didn’t happen?
We reached the bridge opposite the Swedish parliament, and Anders clutched onto the railings, stared down at the rapids glistening from the streetlights below. “Do you think Tove killed Hanna because she slept with Daniel?”
The question startled me, and I hesitated a while. I answered honestly that I didn’t know.
Then, as gently as I could, I pointed out that Daniel is her alibi for the time Hanna went missing. I have no doubt that Daniel genuinely believes that he remembers everything from that night, but we both know the state he gets himself into. I remember that sight of him passed out on the pile of shoes and people standing on him from that party months ago. He could have been playing guitar to an empty room and would have had no idea. Looking back on when they told me the story of Hanna making a pass at Anders, Daniel admitted that he hadn’t remembered the story in the morning when the police asked, but I’m not sure that he remembered it independently at all. Tove took the lead in telling me, and I’m almost positive now that Daniel looked a little unsure at times.
Something occurred to me. “Did they fight over the bar punch up like you said?” Anders looked blank. Weeks ago, I reminded him, maybe two weeks before that night. I inadvertently told Tove about you guys being football hooligans. Maybe she threw him out and that’s when he went to Hanna.
Anders turned properly to face me, and I knew almost before he opened his mouth. There was no bar fight. One of the police officers who was there when Anders was told about Jenny’s death and witnessed his freak out, comes by, semi unofficially, to chat to him about Jenny every once in a while. “It’s not so often now, but I guess they think one day I’ll break down and blurt out a confession over coffee,” he spat. I have that woman’s card. Nadja Johansson. I resolved to call her first thing in the morning.
I pulled my phone out. Tove answered on the first ring.
“Hey,” I said, as casually as I could, “I just ran in to one of my kayaking buddies, the guy with the teeny swimming shorts, and he said that you came by a few weeks ago. Sorry I just got the message now…” I trailed off. I could hear that she was crying, and despite what Anders and I had just been saying, despite everything I had been thinking, my heart went out to her. “Tove, I’m so sorry.”
“He told Anders?” She choked out.
I decided to go with a half truth. “Anders knows.”
With that she dissolved into those great, hulking sobs where you can barely catch your breath and feel like you might drown. I could see that Anders could hear too, he flinched and turned away.
“How about I come and see you?” I found myself saying. “We can talk about – everything. Or not, we can just… whatever you need.” She didn’t reply for a few moments, but then said she would text me her mom’s address, and hung up. I looked at Anders. Was I going as a friend, to listen and support her – or was I going undercover to find out if she killed Hanna?
“When’s the next bus to Norrtälje?”